San Marcos water officials dashed an effort to upgrade treatment at the Encina sewage plant in Carlsbad, vetoing a proposal Wednesday to provide secondary treatment at the facility.
Currently, the plant provides advanced-primary treatment, which blends secondary-treated sewage with effluent that has been given primary treatment, a less intensive process that removes fewer solids from waste water.
Although five of the six agencies that operate the plant agreed Wednesday to upgrade to secondary treatment, San Marcos County Water District officials cast the lone vote against the change. Since San Marcos, like the other agencies, enjoys veto power on all decisions affecting the plant, that single vote meant the facility will not be upgraded this year.
San Marcos officials say it has not been demonstrated that sewage given advanced-primary treatment threatens the ocean. Many coastal residents, however, have expressed concern that advanced primary treatment fails to adequately strip viruses and germs from waste water dumped into the sea.